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HelloFresh: High Fiber Meals Dropped at Your Door

10 Nov

HelloFresh: High Fiber Meals Dropped at Your Door

Are we living in the Golden Age of Food?

It seems that in almost every corner of this country people increasingly have access to high quality, healthy foods. Sometimes it comes at a price. And sometimes it comes to your door.

With all of the home-delivered, semi-prepared meal options out there, it can be challenging to sort through the noise. And while many home-delivery meal services do deliver on taste, price and nutrition are sometimes relegated to the back seat.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to discover HelloFresh – a company that delivers delicious and healthy recipes with all the pre-measured ingredients to your door each week.

 

How it Works

HelloFresh provided me with 3 sample meals for this blog post. They have a Classic Food Box (for omnivores) and a Veggie Box (for herbivores). The classic meals start at $10.75 per person, per meal (including shipping) while vegetarian meals start at $9.08 per person, per meal (also including shipping).

The box arrives on your doorstep (appropriately refrigerated I might add…food safety first!); and each meal is perfectly packed with individual, pre-portioned ingredients and beautiful, descriptive recipe cards.

And when it comes to the chef’s selections, this is not your run-of-the-mill mac-and-cheese type of vegetarian menu! The week I received meals included:

The ingredients were packed individually to maintain freshness and each recipe card has a step-by-step preparation process laid out with gorgeous acompanying food photography.

I love that all of the HelloFresh recipes include the nutritional analysis – and each of the meals I sampled had between 9-26 grams of fiber per serving.

 

Why Cook at Home More?

Cooking at home(vs. eating out) is your best bet for health – and your wallet. A service like HelloFresh can infuse life back into your home cooking routine. Having food come to you (vs. you going to it) forces you to try new ingredients. I had been meaning to try both sunchokes and kale chips – and voilà…they showed up on my doorstep to work their way into my weeknight meal!

Another impressive component of HelloFresh’s operation is their nationwide delivery options. So many innovative home food delivery companies are limited to New York, San Francisco and not much else; but not HelloFresh (unless you live in Hawaii or Alaska…they’re not there yet).

All of the HelloFresh recipes are available online, so you can continue to make your favorite meals at home. They also have an incredible blog filled with great information on how to cook, tips about cooking tools and recipes and stories from their team.

If you’re looking for a healthy (and high fiber) home-delivered meal service, I would highly recommend HelloFresh! Check out my favorite HelloFresh recipe – Afghan Red Lentil Soup with Cumin, Mint, and Lemon below.

 

redlentil

 

Afghan Red Lentil Soup with Cumin, Mint, and Lemon

Recipe from HelloFresh, Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 oz carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 oz fresh mint
  • 1 can whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 Tablespoon oil

Instructions

  • Prep the veggies: halve, peel and dice the onion. Peel the carrots and then finely dice. Finely chop the celery. Mince or grate the garlic. Zest the lemon, then halve. Cut one half into 4 wedges. Thinly slice the fresh mint, reserving a few leaves for garnish.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot and cook, tossing, for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the cumin and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the tomatoes and the dried mint to the pot. Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes until almost smooth. Add the lentils, and 2 cups water to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the sliced mint and the juice of half the lemon and stir to combine. If you have a blender, you can blend the soup for a creamier consistency.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with lemon zest (to taste), reserved lemon wedges, and fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information 

Amount per serving; recipe makes 2 servings

  • 530 calories
  • 8 g total fat
  • 134 mg sodium
  • 93 g carbohydrate
  • 26 g dietary fiber
  • 29 g protein

Disclosure: I was provided with sample meals from HelloFresh for this post; thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not otherwise compensated for this post.

Legumes in Your Linguine? Edamame Spaghetti Fiber Find

27 Oct

Legumes in Your Linguine? Edamame Spaghetti Fiber Find

Cruising through Costco this week, I was delighted to encounter Edamame Spaghetti from Explore Asian in the aisle.

The ingredient list is short & sweet: organic edamame (green soybeans) and water.

Now, I love pasta as much as the next person – but it’s generally low in fiber, low in protein and packed with refined carbs that I can do without.

What lacks in traditional pasta is what rocks this edamame pasta. A 2 oz serving (roughly 1/2 cup dry pasta) provides:

  • 200 calories
  • 5 mg sodium
  • 21 g carbohydrate
  • 11 g dietary fiber
  • 24 g protein

With traditional pasta, for 200 calories you usually get twice those carbs with not much else. Here you’re banking almost half of your daily fiber and protein needs in 1 generous portion.

This protein and fiber-packed pasta alternative is also a great find for those on gluten-free, vegan or kosher diets. It’s USDA certified organic, non-GMO project verified and provides 30% daily value for iron per serving.

But does it taste as good as pasta? You bet. I found I had to cook the edamame pasta a little longer than the recommended 4-5 minutes on the package. But at about 8 minutes in boiling water, the texture was perfect and surprisingly close to real pasta.

You can serve the edamame pasta in place of any spaghetti or linguine in a traditional Italian dish. I chose to serve it up fake-Pho style with this simple soup recipe.

Fake Pho Edamame Spaghetti Soup

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, remove the tough outer leaves and smash the inside
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 8 cups low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup mushrooms (I used Japanese shimeji mushrooms, but any will do)
  • 4 oz (2 servings) edamame spaghetti
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Basil leaves to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in pot over medium-hi heat. Add lemongrass, scallions and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add broth and fish sauce and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add mushrooms and edamame spaghetti and boil for 8-10 minutes
  4. Garnish with basil leaves and lime juice

Nutrition Information

Per 2-cup serving:

  • 260 calories
  • 10 g fat
  • 500 mg sodium
  • 23 g carbohydrate
  • 7 g fiber
  • 23 g protein

 

Favism: The Freaky Side of Fava Beans

19 Mar

Favism: The Freaky Side of Fava Beans

It’s no surprise that fava beans are full of fiber.  As a legume, the fava bean boasts 5 grams of fiber in a 90 calorie half-cup serving.

But favas have a more sinister side: they are a trigger food for favism.

According to an article published in The Lancet, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD deficiency) – also known as favism – is the most common human enzyme defect.

People with favism have low levels of the G6PD enzyme that is important for red blood cell health. Sufferers are genetically predisposed to hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells) and jaundice. Those at greatest risk for favism include people of African and Mediterranean ancestry, and men are 3 times as likely to have it than women.

An individual with favism who eats the legume – or even comes in to contact with its pollen – risks a hemolytic crisis, and possibly death.

The only way to treat the condition is to avoid known triggers. Triggers for favism include all legumes, a comprehensive list of which can be found here.

One final favism fact: Pythagoras and adherents to the Pythagorean code banned the consumption of fava beans. Speculation suggests that Big P had early knowledge of the link between the bean and its blood-rupturing potential.

Legend has it that after Pythagoras’ enemies set fire to his house, he ran into a field filled with the bean and proclaimed he would rather die than progress through the land laden with the legume. At which point, his suitors promptly slit his throat.

So buyer beware…that fiber may come a pretty morbid price.

Popchips’ Fiber Finally Poppin’ Off

13 Feb

Popchips’ Fiber Finally Poppin’ Off

I’ve always liked the idea of popchips – an un-fried potato product with “nothing fake or phony” – but I do admit I wasn’t a fan of their low fiber count.

The original popchips had just 1g fiber per 120 calorie serving. And while the ingredient list was clean, the starches consisted of potatoes, rice, and potato starch (white on white on white carb crime)… so the OG ones weren’t really a snack food worth a fiber fan’s time.

But I recently got my hands on a bag of the new veggie popchips. They caught my eye because they boast a better fiber profile. I bought the sea salt flavor, which this time around has 3g fiber in 120 calories.

The reason for the change? Popchips has wised up to the power of legume flour.

The ingredient list still starts with dried potato, but it goes on to include chickpea flour, navy bean flour, tapioca starch, beet powder, spinach powder, pumpkin powder, pea fiber, tomato powder, red bell pepper powder and kale powder.

In addition to the fiber pump, I think these veggie popchips also have a better, more nuanced flavor than the original popchips. They still stick a little too much to my teeth, and like all potato starch products, the texture is still slightly chalky.

Regardless, I would recommend the veggie popchips over the original popchips based on taste, fiber, and ingredient list alone. You can eat 1/3 of the bag (23 chips) for 120 calories & 3g fiber – and at 200 mg, the sodium count isn’t half bad either.

Now, you have to remember: if it looks like a chip and it tastes like a chip, it’s still a chip…and certainly not the same thing as eating real vegetables. You’re missing out on valuable nutrients like potassium and vitamin C there. But in a pinch, if you gotta grab a chip, I say the veggie popchips are a pretty good product.

 

The Good Bean: Crispy, Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

8 Dec

The Good Bean: Crispy, Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

As a dietitian, I find myself constantly extolling the benefits of legumes:

  • Want more plant protein? Eat legumes.
  • Looking to fill up with fiber? Eat legumes.
  • Need a nutrient rich carbohydrate? Eat legumes.

The actual practice of eating more legumes, however, is easier said than done. Sure, you can sub out meat for kidney beans in your chili or look to lentils for more filling soups.

But how do you incorporate legumes into snacks? Well, I think I’ve found the perfect answer: The Good Bean.

I recently sampled the Sweet Cinnamon flavor of these crispy, crunchy chickpea snacks – and let me tell you, legumes have never looked better!

A one ounce serving (about 1/6 of the bag) of The Good Bean chickpea snacks has:

  • 120 calories
  • 3g total fat
  • 5g dietary fiber
  • 5g protein

If you want a snack that keeps you sated, you look for protein and fiber. This snack has both, and 5 grams of each are pretty impressive stats. They are nut-free, gluten free, soy free and vegan.

I loved the Sweet Cinnamon flavor: it was – as the name implies – sweet, but not overly so, with just 6 grams of sugar. The first ingredient is roasted chickpeas, which is nice to see considering that so many other vegetable snacks start out chock full of potato starch.

You can find The Good Bean chickpea snacks at Whole Foods or Sprouts Market. Or check out their online Store Locator for a retail outlet near you.